Exploring custom blocks from a PHP-centric developer UX point of view

I’ve spent the last 8 months telling anybody I talk to about custom WordPress block development that they were way less scary and much easier than I thought they were going to be as somebody with minimal React experience, and that achieving a 1:1 editor experience where you manipulate directly in the content area instead of metaboxes or panels really comes alive when you reuse the same markup and CSS from the front-end and leverage the React components the block editor ships with. Because of that, I think a big game-changer for adoption and shifting thinking would be to find a way to unify templating between the front-end and the editor, essentially swapping the places where you output content with the corresponding editor component.

So what had happened was… I was once again going on and on about this to Mark Jaquith, who blessedly seems to enjoy walls of text from me about programming puzzles, and it turns out he’s been thinking about the same thing as he gets into block development. A weekend later, and:

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